Heart disease and stroke
Narrowing and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is a major risk for cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a strong risk factor for heart diseases and stroke.
The hormone oestrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the artery wall, helping to keep blood vessels flexible and allowing blood to flow through. A decline in oestrogen may be a factor in heart disease increase among post-menopausal women.
Heart disease kills 11 times more women every year than breast cancer - that's why it’s so important to take steps to reduce your risk.
Make sure your blood cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure are at normal levels. Undertake lifestyle changes such as: not smoking, avoid second-hand smoke, exercise and follow a healthy diet.
If you are concerned about heart disease or your risk, please see your healthcare professional.
The most common treatment for relieving the symptoms of menopause is HRT. Studies show that if you start HRT before you're 60, it does not increase your risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease. If you are already at high risk of CV disease, it may still be possible for you to take HRT.
Studies show that HRT tablets (but not patches or gels) slightly raise the risk of stroke. However, it is important to remember that the risk of stroke in women under 60 is very low.
Your healthcare professional will discuss the benefits and risks of HRT treatment with you.